Preparations for the 2024 Budget Presentation have begun in Antigua and Barbuda. The budget will be presented on December 5th instead of January, which has been the custom of the Gaston Browne Administration.
The Cabinet engaged in extensive discussions with a team of technical staff from the Ministry of Finance, led by the Financial Secretary, to examine the government’s fiscal situation.
The country maintains a tax-to-GDP ratio of about 16%, but the Caribbean Development Bank recommends that the balance be 25%.
To meet this recommendation, the government plans to bring the ratio to about 20% through several approaches, including greater fiscal discipline through the reduction of discretionary tax waivers, more robust tax collection, and stricter control of government spending.
Social programs are also needed to be targeted at those in need.
One of the most significant parts of government expenditure is wages, salaries, and personal emoluments, which amount to approximately $38.6 million monthly.
Therefore, wage adjustments will be kept in line with the inflation rate to ensure the government can meet its monthly obligations.
The Ministry of Finance will also study the Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax and recommend ways to improve its effectiveness as a revenue measure.
It is important to note that the government will not introduce any new taxes, particularly Personal Income Tax (PIT). Instead, efforts will be focused on more robust tax collection of existing taxes.